This is a re-post from my old blog on the 1st of february, 2007. The photos are from the last snow that felt on Parma……
Do you know what it is a blackbird? Turdus Merula is its scientific name. Tha last three days of january here are called “the blackbird days”. Why? They are supposed (by an old peasants tradition) to be the coldest of the winter.
This tradition tells that once the blackbirds were white. A couple of blackbirds that was unable to build a nest coz the trees were all frozen, and the cold was unbearable, choose a warm chimney to call home. After three days there, the female blackbird took a look outside and saw that the sun was shining again, and the air was warmer. So they came out, but the ashes of the chimney coloured them black, and the colour never went away.
There’s another story, always with a blackbird as a protagonist. Once January had 28 days, and it was the coldest month of the year. The last day, a blackbird happily shouted to the sky “I don’t fear you anymore Lord, now that winter is over”. So January took revenge asking three days to February and making them the coldest ever.
Or maybe the right tradition is the one telling the story of a young couple, who, willing to go fast to another village country fair, crossed the frozen river Po, the ice broke and the two fell in the cold water. For three days a blackbird sang to the peasants to call their attention, but failed. The third day the sun melt the ice and the bodies surfaced, sorrounded by flowers.
Maybe now winter is not how it used to be in the old days, the global warming is heating all the planet; the blackbirds can build their nests without problems and the river Po is not frozing anymore, but the old traditions are good to be told, nevertheless.